NOW THAT YOU’RE A GRADUATE…
Every hug and congratulations on your graduation from school resounds with the question, “What next?” It is true life is riddled with tough questions whose answers we may not always know off the top of your heads. And truth be told, we will face those kinds of questions for most of our lives, especially in our post graduate days. The reality of having to face the “what’s next?” phase of your life can be a really overwhelming experience to deal with. After spending all your life studying, adjusting to life after university can be tough. Now is the time to take full advantage of the free time you have to make plans and start putting them into action
… But first, TAKE A PAUSE!
There are plenty of options facing fresh graduates in Nigeria, from graduate programmes, to graduate internships, to working abroad, to further study. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve always known what you want to do after finishing your degree or are recently thinking about it, it’s important to know what all your options are and what will work out for best for you. You could either choose to work or further your education. But within this there lies a number of paths, so it is important to find out which fits with where you want to be in life. And for this reason, it is critical to first take a pause. Let us first be clear on one thing, you mustn’t put too much pressure on yourself about the first move you make after you graduate, says Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters( AGR). “A career isn’t necessarily about the first thing you do. That’s an important step, but it is just that_ only a step, in the fast- moving ever changing world of work”
Just because your housemate has secured their ideal job doesn’t mean that you’re a failure by contrast. As a recent graduate you need to spend less time unnecessarily worrying about the future and put yourself together. With your recent exit from the university, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of despair. This should be avoided as much as possible.
Marcus Zientek, a careers adviser at Sheffield University, says that many students are unsure of their plans after graduation; “How uncertain they are does vary, from those who have an interest in a general area of work but have not yet decided about it, to those who describe themselves as not having any ideas at all” panicking doesn’t help and is unnecessary anyway. Don’t let things drift _ keep calm and make a plan. Realise that you’re not deciding what to do with the rest of your life, but choosing a good next step for you”
If you’re the kind of person who thrives on staying busy, taking the time out to reboot after graduating may be a bit tricky and confusing at best. For so many others it is the fear of the unknown that keeps them on edge and makes them unnecessarily active in the wrong direction. As human beings, we like to think a lot( sometimes a bit too much) and may start imagining all sorts of scenarios for our lives, particularly ideal situations that we would like to be in, and in most cases life may keep disappointing us by giving us something totally different from what we wished for. That is why it is crucial to let go their expectations and accept a period of inactivity in which for fresh graduates to actually determine their expectations from the future ahead of them. I found this interesting story on the internet about Becky Dnistrianskyj, a recent graduate from Cardiff University who turned down several graduate jobs in favour of continuing with her bar work. She said: “I don’t see the point in accepting a poorly paid graduate job that I’m not even sure I want to do, just because I’m expected to. I’d rather save up until I’ve had time to decide what I really want to do.
As a recent graduate this is the right time to hit the pause button on your life otherwise you run a risk of going into panic mode. Pausing allows you to take a bit, to take a breath in your life. So while everyone out there is rushing around you, do the opposite. Know that no matter what you do, or how much you accomplish, there will always be someone there to ask you, ” So what now?” There is a perception that the moment you graduate from school,you are automatically ready to enter the real world. Well, I think that concept is unfair and unrealistic. If you think that spending four or five years of your life in the university will properly prepare you for the future, think again. So if you’re feeling confused and uncertain about your future and career, it’s okay to just take a pause for the mean time. Take a beat, look at it as finishing one chapter in your life and starting another.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Everyone finds their way in their own time. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You will to pace yourself for the road that lies ahead and never stop to worry if you don’t have all the answers you need right away. They will come, you only need to exercise patience and enjoy the journey. Now let’s hit the next button of your life as a recent graduate; and this should rightly be; determine what you want for your future and career. That is why it was first important for you to take out time to pause and really determine what you want for your life and career now that you’re a graduate. There are a number of different paths to take as you contemplate what to do after university, and sure everyone’s journey will be different.
You can search for a graduate job, choose to further by enrolling for a post graduate course, set up your business, or tour the world. It’s totally up to you. Whichever path you choose, the competitive nature of the job market in Nigeria means that it’s really crucial to take fill advantage of any free time you have to make plans and start implementing those plans. Typically, the majority of new graduates will be looking for a job, which is good but you will need to first understand clearly what you REALLY want, and make steps to getting where you want to be, now is the time to decide the path you need to take which will bring optimum results as far as settling down into a career is concerned. Don’t be downhearted if you leave university with a 2:2. “Research has shown that 87% of businesses look first and foremost for graduates with the right attitudes and aptitudes to enable them to be effective in the workplace, while only 55% of employers consider the degree result to be important,” says Kate( CBI/ Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2026, July 2016). Determining what you want to do and reaching for it will also entail that you think a little out of the box, for starters.
Talking with people who went on to work or study in the area you are interested in is also a good way to try to plan the next step. Realize that nowadays in Nigeria, the game has changed. Internships can also prove useful in positioning you in the sphere of your career calling. ” Internships are a great way to get yourself ready for a job,” says Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters(AGR). He also points out that for graduate on internships or work experience placements, employers can be flexible when it comes to working hours, allowing you to up-skill as you gain relevant experience. “If your IT skills aren’t as good as they should be, for example, you can enroll on a short course. There’s a range of things you could do to improve your CV and gain insights into new areas of work. Use your time to good effect”. And know that just because your friends and colleagues from school have secured their ideal jobs doesn’t mean that you’re a failure by contrast. Challenge yourself by discovering something new about yourself and life generally, while you still have the chance. If you’re like me, deciding that you don’t want to be a biochemistry doesn’t necessarily mean that the four years and thousands of naira spent on a biochemistry degree was all for nothing g _ any university education teaches a desirable skill set. According to Prospects, many graduate employers seek degree-level candidates rather than those disciplined in a specific subject. So, you need to take out time to determine what you want, create your own vision and go for it.
In conclusion, stay true to yourself and earnestly seek to live out your dreams. Be the best you can be. Maintain a cheerful and positive outlook. Remember; all is well!
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